An Examination of Factors Affecting Employee Satisfaction
Sponsored by Missouri Western State University Sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation DUE-97-51113
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The proper APA Style reference for this manuscript is:
WIEDMER, S.M. (1998). An Examination of Factors Affecting Employee Satisfaction. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 1. Available online at http://www.webclearinghouse.net/volume/. Retrieved September 21, 2017 .

An Examination of Factors Affecting Employee Satisfaction
STACEY M. WIEDMER
Missouri Western State University DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY

Sponsored by: Brian Cronk (cronk@missouriwestern.edu)
ABSTRACT
Personality type, coping skills, procedural justice, locus of control, and organizational involvement are all factors that affect job satisfaction. This study looks at other factors such as age, education level, sex, shift, and part or full-time status to see how they affect job satisfaction. Employees of the Wal-Mart Supercenter in St. Joseph, Missouri filled out surveys intended to gather information about what makes people satisfied with their jobs, and what types of people are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs. Results showed that there were three major predictors of job satisfaction: thinking all employees are treated equally by their boss, sex (females were more satisfied than males), and employees seeing themselves having a future in their present job. Factors hypothesized to be significant predictors of job satisfaction, such as education level and age, did not turn out to be significant at all. Shift was significant, however, in that first shift workers were more satisfied with pay than were second or various shift workers.


INTRODUCTION
There have been many studies performed to determine variables that affect job satisfaction. Some have looked at factors such as organizational involvement, locus of control, age, identification with role, dual career families, and commitment to organization (Dodd-McCue & Wright, 1996). Others have examined stress, Type A behavior, coping strategies, participation in decision making (Bogg & Cooper, 1994), procedural justice, emotional exhaustion, race, and education (Wesolowski & Mossholder, 1997). Prause and Dooley (1997) found that a larger percentage of intermittently unemployed and non full-year poverty wage workers expressed dissatisfaction with their jobs when compared to the employed and full-year poverty wage workers. This suggests superiors and subordinates may tend to accentuate their differences and be more prone to stereotype one another. This is are at the functional core of many jobs. important to understand when looking at job satisfaction because superior-subordinate exchangesthat workers are more likely to feel dissatisfaction with jobs that do not afford continuity. Someone with a history of unemployment is not likely to have seniority on the job and may feel less satisfied and less familiar with his or her job. However, a history of unemployment could also reflect underlying adjustment disorders that have an impact on someone`s potential for successful employment. Within superior-subordinate exchanges, subordinates` perceptions of the exchange affect their attitudes about the job itself (Wesolowski & Mossholder, 1997). Demographic group identity may bias judgements about the fairness of others` actions, and Wesolowski and Mossholder (1997) also bring up fairness concerns as fundamental to many work-related phenomena. Procedural justice (perceived fairness experienced by employees regarding organizational procedures and policies used to make important work decisions) is seen as a very important determinant of job satisfaction. If decision makers are courteous, give feedback and opportunities for self-expression, and discuss decision-making procedures with subordinates, the subordinates are going to be much more satisfied with their jobs. If superiors don`t exhibit these types of interpersonal treatment because of demographic differences, there is greater potential for subordinates to develop perceptions of unfair treatment. Subordinates who must continue in uncomfortable dyadic relationships with superiors may feel trapped in emotionally exhausting exchanges, and emotional exhaustion is a primary indicator of burnout. The Type A personality is hard driving, persistant, involved in his/her work, and possesses an enhanced sense of time urgency, especially to work deadlines. Type B individuals have a relative absence of these characteristics and do not tend to suffer from the same type of stressors as the Type A individual. These personalities, along with demographic data, work stressors, coping strategies used, and locus of control are looked at by Bogg and Cooper (1994). In their study, females exhibited greater Type A behavior and used coping strategies more than males. Females also reported greater levels of job pressure from all sources (management role, relationships at work, home/work interface). No difference between males and females was found for locus of control (internal or external). Low levels of control, poor management, and low levels of participation in decision making were all determinants of job dissatisfaction in the Bogg and Cooper study (1994). Males did not use coping strategies as often as females, and this influenced males` job satisfaction along with their mental health. For males, control was important in preventing psychosomatic symptoms of ill health. Personality characteristics played a much more important role in determining stress outcomes in males than in females. Overall, females were more dissatisfied with their jobs and had lower mental and physical well-being scores than their male counterparts. Dodd-McCue and Wright (1996) discovered that job satisfaction is enhanced by the value placed on one`s professional role and identification with that role, but negatively affected by choosing the job because rewards are extrinsic (higher pay or promotion) rather than intrinsic. Younger women were more satisfied with their jobs when they were part of a dual career family. Older women who considered their career to be important were more organizationally involved, but extrinsic reasons for taking the job and length of tenure presented a negative influence on them. Internal locus of control, achievement motivation, work environment, and self image all predicted organizational involvement in men. The purpose of this study is to find out what employees see as being important in a workplace for them to be satisfied with their jobs. Also, I want to see how if more educated people are more satisfied than those with less education, or vice versa. The previous studies have shown that older people tend to be more satisfied with their jobs, and I want to see if I come up with the same conclusion. Shift may be an important indicator of job satisfaction. My hypothesis is that employees working first shift will be more satisfied than those working second or various shifts. Another hypothesis is that part-time workers may be less satisfied than full-time workers because part-timers are more likely to go to school during their off-hours and see a better future ahead of them.


METHOD

PARTICIPANTS
Forty-six people participated in the study. All participants were employees of the Wal-Mart Supercenter in St. Joseph, Missouri. An attempt was made to get responses from the same number of people on each shift.

MATERIALS
A paper and pencil survey was given to all participants in which they decided the extent to which they agreed with each statement and circled the appropriate response for each item (see Appendix).

PROCEDURE
Employees working either first shift (days), second shift (evenings), or various shifts were asked to fill out a survey. Some filled out the survey while they were on break, and others took a minute to fill it out while working. Surveys were immediately inserted into a large envelope so subjects knew the experimenter would not see what they wrote. Therefore, confidentiality was ensured.


RESULTS
A stepwise multiple regression was calculated predicting overall satisfaction from (1) thinking they are paid enough for the work they do, (2) seeing themselves having a future in their present job, (3) communicating well with their supervisor, (4) getting along with co-workers, (5) thinking all employees are treated equally by their boss, (6) age, (7) education level, (8) shift, (9) sex, and (10) working full or part-time. Three variables are significant predictors (F(3,42)=9.254,p<.001) of overall job satisfaction: being treated equally by boss, sex, and having a future in present job. There was an R2 of .398. Subjects` predicted overall satisfaction is equal to 1.627+.313(Equal)-.612(Sex)+.282(Future) when equal is coded as 1=Strongly Agree to 5=Strongly Disagree, sex is coded as 1=Male, 2=Female, and future is coded as 1=Strongly Agree to 5=Strongly Disagree. Females were more satisfied, subjects who thought their boss treated everyone equally were more satisfied, and subjects who could see themselves having a future in their present job were more satisfied. A one-way ANOVA was calculated comparing satisfaction with pay to three different shifts: first, second, and various shifts. A significant difference was found between the shifts (F(2,40)=3.253,p<.05). Tukey`s HSD was used to determine the nature of the differences between the shifts. This analysis revealed that subjects working first shift were more satisfied with pay (M=4.2500, sd=.9574) than subjects working either second shift (M=3.5455, sd=1.1434) or various shifts (M=4.1053, sd=.9941). Satisfaction with pay based on education level was compared using a one-way ANOVA. No significant difference was found (F(3,42)=1.524,p>.05). Education level had no effect on whether or not subjects thought they were paid enough. An independent t test was calculated comparing ability to get along with co-workers to sex. No significant difference was found (t(44)=.403,p>.05). Females were no different than males in terms of getting along with co-workers. On average, most subjects thought they were not paid enough (M=3.8696, sd=1.0875), most did not see themselves having a future in their present job (M=3.4565, sd=1.1295), most thought they communicated well with their supervisor (M=2.2609, sd=1.0632), most got along with co-workers (M=2.0, sd=.7303), most did not think all employees were treated equally by their boss (M=3.2174, sd=1.1721), and most were satisfied with the job they have (M=2.6522, sd=.9479).


DISCUSSION
One of my hypotheses was that a more educated person would be less satisfied with a job at Wal-Mart. Results indicated that education level has nothing to do with whether subjects thought they were paid enough, or with overall satisfaction. Another hypothesis was that older people would be more satisfied with their jobs. This was not a significant predictor of job satisfaction. In fact, only three variables were significant predictors of job satisfaction: equal treatment of co-workers by boss, sex, and seeing a future in that job. Females were more satisfied overall than males. The data supported my hypothesis that subjects working first shift would be more satisfied than those working other shifts. First shift workers were more satisfied with what they got paid than were subjects who worked either second or various shifts. There were not enough data collected by part-time workers to be able to compare them to full-time workers in terms of job satisfaction. The study by Prause and Dooley (1997) mentioned in the introduction suggested that workers are more likely to feel dissatisfaction with jobs that do not afford continuity. My study supports this idea because one of the significant predictors of job satisfaction was whether the subjects could see themselves having a future in their present jobs. Procedural justice (perceived fairness) was seen as a very important determinant of job satisfaction by Wesolowski and Mossholder (1997). Perceptions of unfair treatment lead to dissatisfaction and burnout. The subjects in my study who thought all employees were treated equally by their boss tended to be more satisfied with their jobs. This supports the idea that procedural justice is a strong predictor of job satisfaction.Bogg and Cooper (1994) found that females exhibited greater Type A behavior (hard-driving, persistant, involved in work, sense of time urgency) and used coping strategies more often than males. Since the males in their study did not use coping strategies as often, their mental health was affected, as well as their job satisfaction. However, their study found females to be more dissatisfied with their jobs and to have lower mental and physical well-being scores than their male counterparts. My study did not support this data at all. Females were significantly more satisfied than the males in my study. Perhaps the Type A behavior is beneficial to women working at Wal-Mart, or perhaps the males were not as satisfied because they did not use coping strategies as often as females. This would be a good topic to base future research on.It was interesting to find that, on average, most of my subjects were satisfied with the job they have, even though most thought they were not paid enough, they did not think all employees were treated equally by their boss, and they did not see themselves having a future in their present job. However, most subjects did communicate well with their supervisors and got along with their co-workers.This study should have external validity in any other population similar to that of Wal-Mart. The only limitation I could see was that there were not enough surveys collected from part-time workers. In future research, an experimenter could make sure to give an equal number of surveys to part-time and full-time workers. Employers should examine the different studies that have been done on job satisfaction to see what steps they can take to satisfy their present employees. Satisfied employees are probably the most important asset a business can possess.


REFERENCES
Bogg, J., & Cooper, C. L. (1994). An examination of gender differences for job satisfaction, mental health, and occupational stress among senior U.K. civil servants. International Journal of Stress Management,1, 159-172. Dodd-McCue, D., & Wright, G. B. (1996). Men, women, and attitudinal commitment: The effects of workplace experiences and socialization. Human Relations, 49, 1065-1089. Prause, J., & Dooley, D. (1997). Effect of underemployment on school-leavers` self-esteem. Journal of Adolescence, 20, 243-260. Wesolowski, M. A., & Mossholder, K. W. (1997). Relational demography in supervisor-subordinate dyads: Impact on subordinate job satisfaction, burnout, and perceived procedural justice. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 18, 351-362.


APPENDIX
Read each statement. Decide the extent to which you agree with it. Circle the appropriate response for each item.

1. I think that I am paid enough for the work I do.Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

2. I can see myself having a future in my present job.Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

3. I communicate well with my supervisor.Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

4. I get along with my co-workers.Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

5. I think all employees are treated equally by my boss.Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

6. Overall, I am satisfied with the job I have.Strongly Agree Agree Undecided Disagree Strongly Disagree

7. I am within the following age group (circle one):19 and under 20-30 30-40 40-50 50-60 over 60

8. What is your education level?a) Less than High Schoolb) High School Diploma or GEDc) Some College (or Trade School) or an Associate`s Degreed) Bachelors Degreee) Graduate Degree

9. What shift do you work?a) Mostly Daysb) Eveningsc) Work various shifts

10. Circle your sex.Male Female

11. Do you work full or part-time?Full Time (over 28 hrs./wk.) Part Time (under 28 hrs./wk.)


Figure 1

Submitted 12/3/98 12:01:51 PM
Last Edited 12/3/98 1:15:59 PM
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